PARKSIDE MAILBOXES | 945 Taraval St., San Francisco, CA 94116 | Call (415) 661-8727 | M-F 9-6, Sat. 10-5

Thursday, December 29, 2011

PO Box vs. Physical Address

A p.o. box is rented from the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), a government agency, while a private mailbox is rented from a Commercial Mail Receiving Agency (CMRA), a private business.

What's wrong with renting a p.o. box at the post office? The only benefit a p.o. box has over a private mailbox is cost. A p.o. box is almost always cheaper than a private mailbox. But it has two major drawbacks:

1. A p.o. box number does NOT include a street address. For example:

Your Name/Company
PO Box 12345
San Francisco, CA 94116

A private mailbox DOES include a street address. For example:

Your Name/Company
945 Taraval Street #100
San Francisco, CA 94116

A street address comes in handy when you're required to provide your address on sign-up forms for credit card and bank accounts, registrations, online shopping and shipping deliveries (see number 2: private carriers won't deliver to p.o. boxes), because a p.o. box number is not always acceptable on such forms.

For extra home address protection, some people even put their private mailbox address on their personal and business checks, driver licenses, car registrations, insurance cards, and utility bills. Not to mention when you want to participate in raffles and drawings, subscribe to magazines, and sign petitions, you will never have to provide your home address again.

If you're doing business from home, a commercial street address on your business cards, web site and marketing materials looks much, more professional than a p.o. box number, and much less obvious that you work from home (a p.o. box number is a dead giveaway that somebody doesn't have an office).

And since Internet search engine listings are rapidly replacing the traditional Yellow Pages, you will want your business listed on local search maps from Google, Yahoo! and Bing. These search engines will not accept p.o. box numbers on their maps, but using your home address could compromise your personal information. A private mailbox with a street address is a perfect solution.

2. The post office will NOT sign for any deliveries from carriers like FedEx, UPS, DHL, etc. For that reason, these companies typically refuse to bother delivering to p.o. boxes, and will hold packages at their own facilities or even return to sender.

Private mailbox centers DO sign for deliveries from all carriers and couriers, including U.S. mail, and even people just stopping by to drop things off for you.

San Francisco Bay Area residents should consider a private mailbox with Parkside Mailboxes.